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Announcements and Highlights

Understanding Earth: Our Ocean

Viewed from space, Earth appears as a blue marble, as approximately 70% of Earth’s surface is covered by ocean water. The vast ocean holds roughly 97% of the planet’s water and represents 99% of the living space on Earth. NASA has been observing Earth’s ocean from space for more than 38 years, beginning with the launch of the first civilian oceanographic satellite, Seasat, on January 28, 1978. This brochure explains how NASA has the ability to observe and detect changes in the ocean (and on Earth as a whole) on a variety of spatial and temporal scales—ultimately positioning the Agency to improve life on our planet.

Understanding Earth: What's Up with Precipitation?

Precipitation is any product of the condensation of atmospheric water vapor that falls quickly from a cloud. The main forms of precipitation include drizzle, rain, sleet, snow, grapple (soft hail or snow pellets), and hail. Today, scientists can measure precipitation directly—using ground-based instruments such as rain gauges—or indirectly—using remote sensing techniques (e.g., from radar systems, aircraft, and Earth-observing satellites). This brochure describes how satellite observations—often combined with other measurements taken on the ground or from aircraft—provide frequent estimates of precipitation at a global scale. Among other uses, precipitation datasets from NASA are used for forecasting tropical cyclones; monitoring soil moisture conditions and freshwater availability; and predicting flood and drought conditions, landslides, crop yields, and water-related illnesses.

NASA Science Program Support Office 2016 Annual Report

The Science Program Support Office (SPSO) supported 25 domestic and international science conferences and public events in FY2016. The SPSO strives to provide an inspiring and interactive venue for every event during the year, using a unique storytelling approach that allows a variety of audiences worldwide to connect with NASA Science. The 2016 Annual Report provides a broad overview of these activities, along with details about new Hyperwall stories, publications, social media, key partnerships, and more!

A-Train Symposium, April 18-21, 2017

Registration is now open for the 3rd International A-Train Symposium, to be held in Pasadena, California, April 18-21, 2017. For over a decade, the A-Train Constellation has successfully collected a uniquely comprehensive environmental dataset. The symposium will be an opportunity to learn and exchange information about A-Train scientific breakthroughs and to highlight how Earth science has benefitted from the long, continuous, multi-sensor dataset. Please visit for more information. 

Join NASA for Earth Day

Deep Blue Aerosol Project Website Now Live

The Deep Blue aerosol project now has its own website:

Deep Blue is the name of an algorithm that uses measurements made by Earth-orbiting instruments to determine the amount and properties of aerosols in the atmosphere. In this context, the term aerosols describes particles suspended in the atmosphere, including—but not limited to—desert dust, smoke, volcanic ash, industrial smog, and sea spray. Improving our understanding of aerosols is important for reasons related to Earth's climate, human health, ecology, and more.

The site is intended to act as a single resource for the various current and forthcoming Deep Blue satellite aerosol data products, based on retrievals from the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-View Sensor (SeaWiFS), Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), and Visible-Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite (VIIRS). The site includes information on and links related to the data products, such as file formats, publications, and data access locations, and some background information on aerosols and aerosol remote sensing for the non-specialist.

There is also an RSS feed, to which you can subscribe for information relating to the project, such as new publications or data version updates. Please direct questions to Andrew Sayer of the Deep Blue Project at

Preliminary Level-2 and Level-3 SMAP Radiometer Data Now Available

The beta version of Level-2 (L2) and Level-3 (L3) radiometer data from NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission is now available at the NASA National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC). These data use L-band brightness temperature measurements retrieved from the SMAP radiometer to produce global soil moisture estimates.

As of September 9, 2015, the SMAP Science Data System (SDS) began forward processing of the beta (Version 1) L2 and L3 radiometer data, which will be made available at the NSIDC within 24 hours of satellite observation for the L2 data, and within 50 hours for the L3 data. Note that reprocessing of the data from March 31, 2015, to September 9, 2015, to Version 1 will begin at the end of October 2015.

The beta (Version 1) SMAP L2 and L3 datasets now available at the NSIDC include:

• SMAP L2 Radiometer Half-Orbit 36 km EASE-Grid Soil Moisture; Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
• SMAP L3 Radiometer Global Daily 36 km EASE-Grid Soil Moisture; DOI:

Users should be aware that these beta data use preliminary algorithms that are still being validated and are thus subject to uncertainties. The calibrated and validated release (Version 2) of these L2 and L3 datasets is expected to take place at the end of April 2016.

To access data, documentation, and tools, visit

Note also that the Level-1 SMAP radar data are accessible through the Alaska Satellite Facility Center DAAC at

Additional questions can be directed to NSIDC User Services at

Science Program Support Office Annual Report

During FY2015, the Science Program Support Office (SPSO) supported 24 domestic and international science conferences and public events. Each year the SPSO strives to provide an inspiring and interactive venue, using a unique storytelling approach, that allows a variety of audiences worldwide to connect with NASA Science. The 2015 Annual Report provides a broad overview of these activities, along with details about new Hyperwall stories, publications, social media, key partnerships, and more! Click here to see the report.

SAGE III Mission Brochure now available

NASA’s Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment (SAGE) family of remote-sensing-satellite instruments has long measured ozone (O3) concentrations, stratospheric aerosols, water vapor, and other trace gases that influence Earth’s atmosphere. Planned for launch in 2016, SAGE III on the International Space Station will continue the legacy of accurate SAGE measurements. This brochure provides details about the instrument, launch and installation, ground system and data, and more!

Kudos to Jack Kaye!

Jack Kaye [NASA Headquarters—Associate Director of Research for the Earth Science Division] received the Asia Oceania Geosciences Society (AOGS) Honorary Member award during the AOGS 12th Annual Meeting held in Singapore in August 2015. AOGS created this prestigious award to honor the persons whose international standing in geosciences or whose services to the Society are recognized by the Society and elected by the General Meeting. The Award Committee evaluates and ranks the nominated candidates and then submits its recommendations and the ranked list to the Council, at least three months prior to the next AOGS Annual General Meeting, for consideration and approval.

The criteria for ranking, each of equal weight, are any two of the following three criteria:

• The excellence, outstanding nature, breadth, persistence, and international recognition of a candidate’s research contributions to the geosciences;

• The excellence and duration of a candidate’s record of international leadership and unselfish cooperation in the geosciences, particularly in Asia and Oceania;

• The excellence and duration of a candidate’s contributions to AOGS, especially relating to the development of the geosciences within Asia and Oceania and to international cooperation within and outside these regions.

Please join us in congratulating Jack on this award!

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